Today is a big day in our household and not just because we are making home made burgers to eat later although that in itself is a cause of celebration.
No, today is the day when we get a supermarket home delivery. This is a rare occurrence for us and is our first since possibly September last year. That’s not because we don’t buy food, we do but just not generally from supermarkets.
Where possible we like to buy our food from local stores. Meat from butchers, bread from bakers and everything else from local stores. We like to be careful with our money and that which we spend we like to give to local independent businesses so that the money goes to local families and stays somewhat in the community instead of big tax dodging corporations who beat up their suppliers for low prices. Of course this is a little more expensive and time consuming but in reality not very much as local stores have bargain sales and the quality from butchers and bakers is so much higher.
The price doesn’t have to be higher either. Sure, processed foods may be a little higher but markets and specialist stores can be cheaper. For example I buy bags of 25kg (nearly 60lbs) of potato which last for months and the price for each bag is £7.50. Yet even the cheapest supermarkets like ASDA or Tesco brainwash people into thinking that £1 for £1kg is good value. I know which I think is good value and it is the one that comes in biodegradable brown paper sack, not the horrid plastic bags.
We also grow a lot of fruit and vegetables in our little 50 foot back garden, most of which is lawn. The garden provides us year round. Some of the crops you can just pick when you want them like carrots, parsnips, potatoes whilst others can be frozen such as apples, pears, cherrys, plums, rhubarb and soft fruit. Others produce their harvest all in one go and lead us to eat nothing but that crop for days or weeks on end. I’m talking to you grapes and peas!
There is much talk about food waste but to be honest we don’t waste any food ever. Last year we got to May before we through out a single bin bag of rubbish and none of that was food waste. We eat everything we buy and in the unlikely event is starts going off, we boil it or re-use it somehow in a different form such as soups, stews or omelettes. It helps of course that we don’t buy a lot or go to supermarkets. Buying 3 for the price of 2 offers and the like just encourages the spending of extra money on extra food that will either be thrown out or make you fat.
That being said, this is one of the 2 or 3 days a year when we get a supermarket delivery.I surely don’t ever want to visit myself with all those parking problems and queues at the checkout till and people dilly-dallying in the aisles. Much of what we get is non food items that are hard to carry by hand such as 48 toilet rolls, big boxes of things that won’t go bad such as beers and tinned or frozen food. But still food is a vital component of the delivery and it is something we look forward to as it is not an every day occurrence.
There are a number of things that these deliveries remind me of. Of animals and vultures in Africa that can all feed off a giant dead beast until even the bones are gone. Or of a medieval port when the citizens get excited as they have heard the new ship as brought over exotic potatoes, sugar or tobacco. Perhaps also we are rather like stone-age people who get all excited when they get some woolly mammoth to eat as a special treat compared to their usual fare of berries or rabbit.
We both have our little treats that we look out for and eagerly scurry through the bags to make sure they were delivered that sometimes get eaten almost on the spot or at others get put to one side to be truly enjoyed and savoured.
Many of the things will be put away to supplement our home-grown and local purchases through the coming 4 or 5 months but just for a few days (or weeks knowing us) we’ll live extra well, even if extra well for us is probably not at all special to many in the Western world.
It might sound bad but it should suits our lifestyle and personality. We don’t get caught up in commercialism, we support our local businesses, save money, probably are healthier, and don’t waste any resources either our own or the planet.
Recent reports show that U.K. consumers waste half of all food bought in supermarkets with £10 billion ($16 billion) or £480 per household. In 2011, 1.3 billion tonnes of food were wasted globally, that was one third of the total food in the world. Surely a crime when so many in poorer countries still suffer starvation and many in rich states such as Great Britain and the United States cannot afford food or find healthy food. It is not just us in the West though, every continent is increasingly wasting food. South America and the industrialised parts of Africa and Asia are catching up.
It didn’t use to be this way, even until 30 or 40 years ago, things used to be much different.
To be honest I’m not too bothered about eating food out of season. If I want raspberries or tomatoes, I am more than happy to wait until the summer, besides they taste so much nicer than those flown half way around the world. If I want meat I’ll go to the butchers. Nice personal service, fantastic quality and no crowds or queues of people. The seasons are wonderful for offering fresh, local and tasty food. I’m an adult, I have patience and can wait and enjoy what is naturally on offer today.
For now though, we have just had some heavy rain which has thawed the soil so I can pull up a few leeks which have been frozen in the ground for weeks. They will taste fantastic and none of them will go to waste. We’ll keep our hard earned money for something we’ll use and enjoy not throw out.
The real way that we live though is best summed up by this United States Wartime poster which sums up everything nicely.